Britain’s most celebrated artist Banksy has opened a new exhibition called ‘Dismaland’, which he describes as a “family theme park unsuitable for children”. Created as a dark parody of Disneyland, the amusement park is housed at a derelict beach-front water park in the English seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, and features bizarre displays such as Cinderella's crashed pumpkin chariot complete with the dead princess and surrounded by paparazzis, a killer whale jumping out of a loo and other twisted creations. These works were created by no less than 50 artists from around the world including Damien Hirst, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Banksy himself.
Other attractions include a cinema, mini golf, a circus tent and a ‘Guerilla Island’, a celebration of guerilla art, which will also give workshops ‘on how to hack billboards’. On Friday night there will be live events featuring artists such as Kate Tempest, Pussy Riot and Massive Attack.
Banksy’s twisted world is staffed by equally dark and morose employees “who seem completely uninterested in being helpful or informative.” The tour of the premise starts with an awkward TSA-like screening in a security control room built with cardboard, where visitors are ordered to stand on one foot or spread their legs as wide as possible while they are asked things like “Do you carry any squids or unicorns?”.
Like the artist himself, ‘Dismaland’ was built under a shroud of secrecy. For months, the town council went around telling locals and tourists the elaborate cover story that the massive installations was being built as a film set for an upcoming Hollywood movie called Grey Fox. The installation is located at the premise of an old water park, formerly known as the Tropicana, where tourists once flocked to use its swimming pool, wave machine and water slides, until it closed in 2000.
“I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honor,” Banksy told the Weston Mercury, a local newspaper. “I hope that everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children.”
Unfortunately, ‘Dismaland’ is not a permanent installation and will only stay in place for a period of five weeks from August 22 until September 27, 2015.
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